By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año said Monday’s electoral process must not be hampered in the event teachers are unavailable to render their poll duties in some voting precincts in the country.
In the case of any unfavorable circumstances, Año assured the 2,838 police officers are ready to be deputized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to serve in the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to fill in the possible void during the elections.
Aside from filling in for the teachers, Año said cops are available to maintain law and order in any area where there are concerns about peace and security.
He explained that under Republic Act No. 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act, the Comelec may deputize policemen to serve as BEI “in cases where the peace and order situation so requires as determined by the Commission and where there are no qualified voters willing to serve, uniformed personnel of the PNP shall be deputized.”
“Our men and women of the PNP are ready to do their duty under the law. They have already undergone training by the Comelec for this contingency and they are on stand-by should their service be required, ”Año said.
The DILG chief ordered the PNP to ensure that no hindrance which concerns peace and order may affect the people’s right to suffrage.
Of the 2,838 police officers who were trained and deputized by Comelec to act as BEIs for the upcoming elections, 1,032 are in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) due to possible election-related violence in the region.
“We do not want to take any chances during the elections especially since the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other factions still remains to be a peace and order issue in BARMM,” Año said.
The remaining number of cops trained for election duty is in Police Regional Office (PRO) 10 with 415; PRO4A with 363; 231 for PRO13; 201 for PRO5; 175 for PRO11; and 136 for PRO9.
“With the exemption of Region 4A, most of the areas are in Mindanao which remains to be a challenge to Comelec and PNP. Hopefully, these areas will be peaceful during the May 13 polls,” Año said.
In Luzon, NCRPO has 24 BEI cops, 50 for PRO1, 20 for PRO2, 96 for PRO3, while PRO6 in Visayas has 35, 43 for PRO12 of Mindanao, and 17 for PROCOR.
“These deputized police officers are ready to assist if they will be needed. Hopefully, we’ll have a peaceful election so that they can just focus on the peace and order aspect of their job,” he added.
Total police deployment
According to the PNP, a total of 149,830 police personnel have been deployed for election duty nationwide.
Of this figure, 75,486 will be stationed in various voting centers; 31,613 are reserved forces; and 11,413 are part of the quick response team.
Other cops are assigned in the Election Monitoring Action Center/TOC – 6,083; Warehouse and Hub – 1,923; Canvassing Centers – 4,566; Election Boards – 2,838; Checkpoints – 7,817; Border Control Chokepoint – 3,415; and Civil Disturbance Management – 1,901. A total of 2,775 personnel who are on schooling were also recalled by the PNP for election duty.
“I have placed the entire PNP on full alert this coming election. The DILG also has an operations center in place. We are ready to ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” Año concluded. #MatalinongBoto2019